Windows Desktop Clutter: A Hidden Culprit in PC Lag

You can’t find the reason behind your computer’s slow performance. There are no viruses, spyware, ad-ware or other junk programs anywhere on the system. You’ve cleared out your Startup folder so that only necessary programs run when you start your system. And you’ve even rebooted to clear the memory – several times now!

Windows works best – that is, the fastest – when the desktop is as clutter-free as possible. Check out your desktop: if you can’t see the wallpaper for all the shortcuts, files and other icons, it’s time to find better places for as many of these files as possible.

First, put all of your word-processing documents into a folder that doesn’t include a desktop shortcut. “My Documents” is a good place to put these files. This folder is easy to find, and data backup is quick and easy if all of your MS Word documents are in one place.

Next, dump shortcuts that programs automatically put on your desktop when you perform the installations. These icons seem faster than going through the Programs menu, but having too many on your desktop will only slow you down.

And if you use Windows XP, you already have a quick shortcut: the main menu bar that comes up when you click “Start.” Your most often-used programs automatically appear on this list, so delete the shortcuts and use this menu instead.

If you need more shortcuts on that menu, right-click on the taskbar and select “Properties.” Click the “Start Menu” tab and increase the number of applications on the main start menu. You can always adjust this number depending on your preferences, so feel free to experiment until you find something that you like.

You can also create sub-folders inside “My Documents,” the “C” drive, or any other directory that you want. Try storing installation files in their own folder on the “C” drive. Separate groups of photos with new folders in “My Pictures.” You can put your files anywhere you want, as long as they aren’t on the desktop.

Ultimately, you want no more than eight desktop icons. That’s a high number, so remove more if you can.

When you’ve finished rearranging, deleting and cleaning up, run your disk defragmenter software. This is in the “System Tools” program folder. When this is finished, reboot your computer. Your wait time should decrease, making your computing life a little easier.